NEW DELHI: Many homes have granite floors and kitchen platforms; granite is regularly used on tombstones. While using these sleek, easy-to-clean surfaces, we seldom pause to consider the conditions under which the stone is extracted and processed. A report released by Dutch NGOs Stop Child Labour, India Committee of the Netherlands and Kerk in Actie (Church in Action) shows that half the global export of granite is from India; about 10% of all natural stone traded on the world market is from India, which is one of the top five producers of the world’s natural stone. Yet, conditions in stone quarries are deplorable.
China, Germany, Belgium, UK and the Netherlands are major importers of Indian granite. ‘The Dark Sites of Granite’, the report released on August 23, studies supply chains from quarries in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana to end-users in Europe and other parts of the world. It attempts to track child labour, bonded labour and other labour rights violations, and measures to address rights violations. Surveys were undertaken in 22 quarries. Among these were quarries in Chimakurthi of Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, where the famous Black Galaxy variety with a worldwide market is produced. Surveys were undertaken also at quarries in Karimnagar of Telangana, where the Maple Red and Tan Brown granite is mined, that goes mostly to China. (This business saw a huge boom ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics; but the industry has entered a crisis phase since 2014 and many quarries have shut.) Quarries in Mudugal in Raichur district of Karnataka were also surveyed.
“Granite quarrying in South India is largely under the control of economically powerful and politically influential people. Large scale corruption in the allocation of mines, granting permits and illegal mining have received wide attention since 2010,” the report says.
Aug 26: LAHORE Dozens of schoolteachers staged a demonstration on Aug 24 and protested against the Punjab government for delaying upgrading of teaching posts and ignoring their other issues.
The demo was held outside the Lahore Press Club on the call of Punjab Teachers Union (PTU). Similar protest demonstrations were held outside press clubs in different cities of the province. Carrying banners and placards the schoolteachers came hard on the Punjab School Education Department for ignoring what they termed their just demands including upgrading of posts.
The Punjab Teachers Union leaders including Ch Sarfaraz, Rana Liaqat, Ch Muhammad Ali, Mian Arshad and others led the demo outside Lahore Press Club and expressed concerns over delay in issuing upgrading notification. They said the government was ignoring issues related to in-service promotions and teachers’ packages etc.
The Punjab Teachers Union leaders demanded the government address teachers’ issues on priority and warned if no immediate action was taken, the schoolteachers would observe a sit-in outside the Punjab Assembly on September 16.
U.K: Commenting on the publication today by the Office for National Statistics of new data showing business investment stalling, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Instead of getting match-fit for Brexit, business investment is sat on the bench and the economy is sliding towards the relegation zone.
“The government should boost businesses confidence by keeping single market membership on the negotiating table. And with businesses reluctant to invest, the government must step up to the plate with a boost to public investment.”
INDIA: CITU welcomes the majority judgment of the Supreme Court on the talaq e bidat type of triple Talaq. The Supreme Court pointed out that talaq e bidat type of triple talaq was arbitrary and was not intrinsic to Koranic tenets. The judgment is a step forward in the struggle for the rights of women.
This is a victory for the decades’ long struggle against the instant and arbitrary form of divorce through the talaq e bidat. Many Muslim women and democratic women’s organisations have played the leading role in this struggle. Many countries with Muslim majority populations do not have this practice.
CITU believes that this judgment will strengthen women’s struggle for their rights and for reform of personal laws of all communities to suit the present situation.
GREECE: The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 92 million workers in the 5 continents, condemns the criminal practices of the construction companies, that are disclosed, once again, after the consequences and the dead, which a powerless earthquake left behind in the island of Ischia, Italy.
According to experts, an earthquake of less than 4 degrees on the richter scale, should not in any circumstances, cause such a disaster. The local responsible person for the organization of environment protection, T. Matzara, said that there is a very big construction activity in the island and a lot of houses appear in just a few weeks. Also he denounced that on numerous occasions, the constructions was totally illegal and the likelihood of collapse was “absolutely predictable”. The Napoli chief prosecutor, T. Menilotis, spoke of serious phenomena such as illegal and arbitrary building projects, and the prosecution is considering launching an investigation into multiple homicide, negligently.
The WFTU, expresses its sincere condolences to the families and relatives of the victims. Once again, conscious crime has been made against innocent victims for the sake of profit. These are the tragic effects of a system that is based on the capitalists wealth increasing instead of the quality of people’s living conditions. We call on the international class-oriented trade union movement to strengthen the militant struggle for the implementation of adequate protection measures in every aspect of people’s lives.